A few days ago, the deadline to receive your free upgrade to Windows 10 expired, and if you’ve missed it and still want to upgrade, you’ll have to buy the full license. However, Microsoft is offering a free upgrade offer extension for users of the operating system's assistive technologies. The link to this extension is tucked away in a Windows Accessibility webpage, here (opens in new tab).
The download page clearly states that the extension is meant for users of the assistive technologies and not the general public, but nevertheless, anyone can click the “Upgrade Now” button to download and run the executable. Microsoft isn’t restricting the use of the upgrade extension to any specific assistive technology (here's an overview of the assistive technologies (opens in new tab)), stating “If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer.”
This is great news for anyone who needs to use assistive technology but was too late for the free upgrade offer. However, it does open a loophole: You can download and install the update without enabling any of the assistive tech.
We reached out to Microsoft for comment on the use of this extension as a workaround, and a spokesperson gave us the following statement:
“As we shared earlier, we’ve extended the free upgrade offer for those who use assistive technology as we continue to make accessibility improvements to Windows 10, including many coming in the Anniversary Update, which is available after the free upgrade offer ends. See the Microsoft Accessibility blog here for more details. We are not restricting the free upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies. If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer. That said, it is not intended to be a workaround for people who don’t use assistive technology and who missed the deadline for the free offer. “
We also asked whether Microsoft would do anything to prevent the general public from using this workaround, but that question remained unanswered. Of course, whether or not Microsoft actively prevents anything doesn't affect the ethics of the situation. If you don't need assistive technologies, you're not supposed to take advantage of the free upgrade extension.
Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed when the upgrade offer extension for users of assistive technologies would end, but it did promise a public announcement prior to the special deadline.